There is no simple answer to the question “how much time is needed to file a divorce in St. Louis” Many different factors can combine to determine how long a case takes. These factors include whether or not your divorce is contested, the extent of your assets, and the likelihood that your case will go to trial.
Putting your case in the hands of skilled legal counsel is one of the best ways to speed up divorce proceedings. The right attorney could work to resolve issues quickly and avoid unnecessary delay. Handing your divorce on your own is only likely to take longer than necessary to resolve.
While there is no way to guarantee a speedy resolution to your divorce case, our firm is prepared to work tirelessly to help you avoid any unnecessary delays. With our help, you could resolve your divorce case as soon as possible.
Time Limits on Filing for Divorce in St. Louis
To file for divorce in Missouri, you must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days. There are additional requirements in cases where spouses have minor children. It could take up to six months before you can file for divorce with minor children.
There are also special provisions for members of the military serving on active duty in Missouri. While you typically must reside in the state where you file for divorce, these active duty service members can pursue a divorce if they have been stationed in the state for at least 90 days.
Contested vs. Uncontested: How Long Will it Take in St. Louis?
There are two different types of divorce cases: contested and uncontested.
The difference between these two types of divorce cases is important, as uncontested divorces are usually much faster than contested cases. This is because in an uncontested divorce, most if not all of the major issues are resolved prior to filing.
How Long an Uncontested Divorce Takes
An uncontested divorce is your best option for dissolving your marriage in the shortest amount of time possible. The bare minimum your case might take is 30 days, given that this is the shortest amount of time possible under the statute. Once the mandatory 30-way period has expired, the court has the power to conclude your divorce. Realistically, this process will take closer to 90 days for most people.
There are many issues that must be resolved prior to a divorce being finalized, and a couple going through an uncontested divorce must resolve each of them amicably. These issues include:
- The division of marital assets and debt
- The amount of spousal support, if any
- Parenting plans for any children from the marriage
The challenge related to resolving these issues differs from one marriage to another. While financial issues are often challenging, the decisions regarding minor children are the most common area of conflict. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement on each of these issues, they cannot proceed with an uncontested divorce.
How Long a Contested Divorce Takes in St. Louis
Just like with uncontested divorce, a contested divorce faces the statutory minimum of thirty days. The law does not allow a contested divorce to conclude any sooner than that, which is rarely an issue with this type of divorce. In a contested divorce, at least one of the important decisions requires court intervention given that the sides cannot agree.
Because litigation is necessary, there is no maximum time limit restraining these cases. A contested divorce could take months or even years to resolve. The amount of time these cases take will depend on various factors, including:
- The assets and debts held by the couple
- Whether the couple has minor children
- Whether there are allegations of abuse or abandonment
- Whether the parties can reach an agreement on any issues
Other Issues That Could Slow Down a Divorce in St. Louis
There could be an array of factors that causes your divorce case to take longer to resolve than necessary. Some of these factors result from intentional actions of the other parties, while others could be largely unavoidable. When you work with experienced legal counsel in your divorce case, you can rest easy knowing your attorney will work to ensure the impact these delays have on your case are as minor as possible. Some of the factors to be aware of include:
The unfortunate reality is that making the divorce process go smoothly requires some effort by both parties. If your spouse is intent on dragging their feet, they are likely to have a degree of success. For example, both parties are afforded a set amount of time to respond to motions and pleadings, and there is nothing that will stop them from waiting until the last moment to respond. When your spouse intentionally delays the divorce case, it is up to your attorney to keep the case moving.
The more assets you share with your spouse, the longer it could take to resolve your divorce case. That is because high-asset divorce cases often have unique challenges that most divorcing spouses do not have to face.
Many spouses divorce with little in the way of marital assets. Other couples might own a home or other assets that are easily evaluated and divided. In these cases, there is little risk of delay due to the size of the estate.
Larger estates are different. When you are in a high-asset marriage, it can be challenging and time-consuming to even valuate all of the marital assets. Rare assets like jewelry or art require advice from an expert to determine what they are worth. What’s more, liquidating these rare assets can be difficult. Resolving disputes over these assets could greatly increase the
Disputes resolving child custody frequently lead to lengthy divorce proceedings. In these cases, divorce could take time to resolve even when there are not disputes regarding marital assets. There are steps that must be taken in cases involving child custody that are not present in other aspects of a divorce. Resolving these issues could slow down the pace of your divorce proceedings significantly.
There are factors in the lives of children that also might slow this process down. The court could put off hearings that interfere with a child’s school schedule, for example. The same is true for their participation in extracurricular activities. It is possible that a divorce could last long enough to begin when a child is a minor and conclude after they reach the age of majority.
The unfortunate reality in many divorce cases is that some delays are unavoidable. Courtroom scheduling conflicts, illnesses, and family emergencies happen for everyone. These delays are often unavoidable. The important thing is for your attorney to take steps to get the case back on track as soon as possible. Additionally, resolving other delays quickly could soften the blow when unforeseen circumstance arise.
How a St. Louis Divorce Attorney Could Help
It is impossible to accurately predict exactly how long it will take to complete your divorce. Some cases can be resolved quickly—especially when both spouses are on the same page. By working together to resolve the dispute amicably, divorce proceedings could begin and end in a matter of months.
Of course, there are times when divorce can take much longer than that. When there are contentious proceedings or emotional disputes, divorce can drag out for years. Having an attorney serving as your advocate during these challenging divorce cases is invaluable.
An experienced divorce lawyer could work to secure the dissolution of your marriage in the shortest amount of time possible. What’s more, having the right attorney on your side could also help make this decision painless. By taking on the difficult aspects of negotiating your divorce, your attorney could make life easier for you during this challenging time. If you are ready to discuss your options with an attorney, the J. Rench Law Firm is ready to help. Call right away for your initial consultation.